Quilting is so much fun for me. Some days I get excited by something as simple as watching a show on The Quilt Show (TQS) even if it presents a type of quilting I know I’ll probably never use. I also love thinking about advances in machines even if I am unlikely to obtain these machines. I want to help people–men, women, children–who may find that they are interested in making quilts and run into problems.
Sew here is what I am thinking about today. I saw Louisa Smith’s show on TQS a few minutes ago and she talked about her “color studies” and some interesting methods she has worked out to produce really colorful interesting quilts that she uses decorative stitches and threads when she appliques down her appliques. They are gorgeous, and it gives me some ideas for a little quilt I am trying to design right now for next year’s Hoffman Challenge. This design is floating around in my mind, but it is a little fuzzy still as to just how I’m going to approach it. Just take a look at those fun fabrics. I recently rewatched Bead It Like You Mean It by Lyric Kinard currently available for members on TQS and have decided beads have to play a big part in this little Hoffman Challenge quilt.
In addition, I enjoy learning about advances in machines today and about interesting machines even if I don’t plan to buy them. I have a quilting friend whose power has been off for days. She lives across the country from me so I can’t help her out with this, but it made me think about this machine I have kind of wanted for some time now and a special custom cabinet that the Amish make for it:
What a wonderful advance this can be for people who don’t use electric power…a treadle machine with ten utility stitches and a buttonholer. How neat it would be to have one of these to use if the power goes down for days because of a storm. I won’t get it because I can’t figure where to put it in my home, and it probably would not be used very much since our power is, at this time, very reliable. But wouldn’t that be fun?
I also would love to have an embroidery machine with multiple needles and a longarm machine…none of these will fit in my small townhome. But it’s still fun to think about these machines and see what people do with them. Sew what brand of machine do I think is best? I think there are many brands today that are wonderful. Bernina, of course is my favorite, but there is Baby Lock, which would be my second choice (or first choice if I were buying a new serger…I currently have a Baby Lock serger). I also think Janome and Juki are great machines. I truly don’t have any opinion on other brands such as Brother or Pfaff. My mother, who has passed on now, loved her Pfaff, but it has changed owners since she had her machines and I don’t know how they do now. The point is, you can have a wonderful old machine, a less expensive but workable machine, or a top end advanced machine and regardless still make lots of wonderful things with them. It’s important to learn all the things your machine can and cannot do so you can plan your projects around them.
Just this week I ordered a #96 Bernina ruler foot they developed for their longarm. They don’t recommend using it on their domestic machines because you have to remember to lower your presser foot to bring up your thread before you start sewing. I have several friends who are successfully using it now, however. I have the Westalee ruler foot that I use with the #77 adapter foot, and it works ok if the rulers are not too thick. But the screw where you join the two pieces together sometimes gets in the way. There will be no screw to run into with the #96. So I am planning on developing some ruler work. It’s a new technique for me and, indeed, a new technique for the industry…ruler work on domestic machines.
Today I made a little progress on foundation piecing the storm-at-sea blocks for a current project and had a lot of fun. These blocks have 65 pieces for each one and I will need 24 blocks as close to perfection as I can get them for the big wave that will merge into the pictorial part of the quilt. Here is the design for the rectangle I’m making from which to cut the sweeping big wave. The blocks are 7 inch blocks, making the small parts very small indeed. This will take me quite a while to complete because I am slow at this and have kind of gotten to be a perfectionist on having all those points come out just right.
Sew what is my point about this? Quilting and sewing has become a wonderful almost magical play ground full of fabulous fabrics, beautiful and reliable threads, and wonderful advanced machines. Furthermore, some wonderful quilters and sewists have developed methods and skills that they so willingly share with others that make this one of the most exciting activities available to us today. Videos and books are out there from many of these quilters and sewists for those who can’t make it to a show or workshop.
Sew happy everyone. Go experiment with your machines, fabrics, and threads that you already have and let go and enjoy it like the magical playground it can be! Samples are necessary, and they are where you can simply have fun. These are great for making mug rugs and other small items for your friends.